2012 Launch Reports

Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   Jun  NERRF 8  Jul   LDRS XXI Aug   Sep   Oct   Nov   Dec

January, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field


February, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field


March, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field


April, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field


May, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field


June, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field


NERRF 8 - June 22-24, 2012

Congratulations to Jeff O. who got his L3 certification.

Here is what our club members who attended NERRF 8 had to say:


Doug S.

I had three flights:

Friday - Launched my Scratch Two 38 mm (scratch built) minimum diameter fiberglass rocket on an Aerotech H123W. Rocket screamed arrow straight to ~3000' and recovered cleanly on a 24" chute a few hundred feet from the pad. I had modified portions of this rocket after it's previous launch in St. Albans way back in August and was really pleased with this flight. It was a surprising how rusty I was at prepping the motor and rocket after not flying anything since September, but it does all come back to you.

Saturday - Launched my Wildman Darkstar on an Aerotech J350W. Beautiful flight to 5111' (per RRC2-mini), clean separation, and chute opening at 500'. Unfortunately, the rocket drifted and ended up behind the tree line at the far edge of the field. I spent two hours looking for the rocket in several long narrow fields (150-200' wide) behind the tree line that were covered with knee high weeds and separated from each other by ditches full of 7-8' tall nettles. The ditches and nettles effectively separated each field from one another both in terms of access and visibility, so I ended up having to loop through each repeatedly. After covering multiple fields successively further away from the treeline without success (though I did find someone else's rocket in one of the ditches which I returned), I doubled back and finally found my rocket in a narrow nettle-filled pocket nestled along the treeline. The red/white chute was caught up in the tips of the nettles, and the rest of the rocket was stretched out in the nettles and adjacent to them. Without seeing the flash of red in the chute, I would have never found the rocket. I finally got back to our site with the rocket, tired and a bit dehydrated from the heat. Thunderstorms followed by heavy rain shut down our operations around 3:30 PM and didn't leave me enough time to prep anything else that day.

Sunday - Launched my Wildman Darkstar again on an Aerotech I1299N (Warp 9). The LCO was initially puzzled by the motor designation, until I corrected him and he realized that I was flying a very high impulse motor. The sims showed the rocket would pull over 60 G's with this load so I was a bit apprehensive. Winds were blowing toward the river behind the flight line, so I had angled the rail about 10 degrees to compensate. However, the steady wind suddenly died like it had been shut off with a switch just as the rocket was being launched. The rocket shot off the pad cleanly with a loud half second burn nicely following the line of the rail to 2934' (per RRC2-mini) back towards the dreaded trees from the day before. After a few tense moments and some muttered curses, I watch the rocket land partially in a tree at the near side of the tree line. The nose cone and parachute were on the ground, the payload bay and altimeter about 6' off the ground, and the booster was up in the tree and pretty well hung up. After some struggle, I was finally able to pull the booster down from the tree along with a large assortment of leaves and branches, getting it back without damage. Thank goodness for long and strong Kevlar cords.

Temperatures on Friday were pretty brutal and Saturday was not much better, so we all ended up drinking lots of water and enjoying shade when we could. With the exception of the storm, the skies were pretty clear and the winds not excessive, making for good flying conditions. The various fields were a mix of sod and low soybeans (4-5" tall), so if one landed in the fields as desired, recovery was a breeze. It was of course not so desirable to land elsewhere, especially in or beyond the two rivers bordering the site. The land owner rode around on a four wheeler and helped find and recover a number of rockets that ended up further away, though I didn't personally make use of this.

This was my first large launch so I spent a fair amount of time checking out the vendors and watching other flights. It was nice meeting some of the folks I've talked with over the phone or seen in the various rocketry forums, and even hearing some of the "rocketry politics". I have to say I learned a lot, and was incredibly impressed with some of the launches, particularly both a two stage and three stage high power launch elegantly completed by the same rocketeer. On the other extreme, there were also a number of interesting flight failures/issues, ranging from what appeared to be failed forward or aft closures, premature ejection charge firings (e.g. on the pad), component separations, flight instabilities, and even Tim Lehr's (Wildman) failure (again) of his two stage 3' Wildman. I didn't witness any lawn darts, but one separated nose cone came in at speed and punched a nice hole in a neighbor's tarp immediately next to Dave's; I sure was glad no one was sitting underneath or the results might not have been pretty. The same neighbor also managed to trigger his charges under the same tarp after fiddling around with a rocket with a live Raven. This prompted some "war stories" from a few others who described accidentally triggering charges up to 5 grams of powder. All were good object lessons in safety.
I am off to LDRS in a few weeks!


Jeff O.

5 Flights:

1. BullPup on an H148R.
2. Alpha 4x Upscale on a I285R. ·
Both perfect flights into the clear blue skies of 95 degree weather.

3. Tomahawk (5/9 Scale) on a M1500G - Level 3 Certification Flight.
Perfect ascent into 7400 feet of the clear blue skies of 90 degree weather.
Perfect separation at apogee but soon there after the main chute deployed - cause still under investigation but lots of theories. A nice smooth decent but drifted into the far forward field that required land over retrieval. Both the main and backup charges went off at the proper time but didn't mater much since the main was already out. Nosecone was recovered in far main field.
No damage and per NAR rules I was still granted my certification. Not the way I wanted to do it, but given the flight is only about 1/4 of certification process (design/build/prep being the other 3/4) I'll take it.

4. My own design of an Upscale Estes Hawkeye - plywood & carbon fiber fins, quantum tubing with a piston. Flew on an H242 - nice kick in the pants to keep it straight, perfect flight.
5. 4" Nike Smoke on an I300T. Dual Cato 30" Chute. Perfect flight, beautiful full dual chute recovery.
Much thanks to my level 3 cert flight ground crew for help on getting to the pad, recovery, prep support, and photo taking. Special thanks to Howie for walking at least 2 miles for the recovery operations - only to determine that there was no way to cross the river.


Dave L.

I arrived at the filed around 5PM on Thursday in order to claim a space for my 10’ x 10’ canopy. Howie arrived minutes before me and I set up next to him. Afterward I picked up my motor order from Wildman’s trailer and went to the Hampton Inn a few miles away to check in. By that time Doug S. called on my cell phone to invite me to Chilli's for dinner with Jeff O. We had a nice dinner (ribs for me) and discussion, then back to my room to plan Friday’s flights.

Friday Morning I arrived at the field around 10 am set up my tables and rockets and began prepping for my first flight. The weather was already in the mid eighties with expected highs in the nineties. The wind was calm but showers and thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon.

First up was my recently finished Rocketry Warehouse Formula 75 rocket. This 3” diameter rocket with pre-colored lime green fuselage and black fins and nosecone had flown once before at Red Glare XII in April and is a really nice flier. I loaded in a 38mm AT I285 Red motor with a 10 second delay. I ran my Garmin DC40 GPS unit in the nosecone just in case it drifted 1.2 miles away like it did at Red Glare when I used too large a chute. This time I used a 36” chute instead of a 50”. Flight was perfect and it landed about 1000 feet away in a soft soybean field. I had my new 808 #16 keychain HD camera onboard and got a nice video too. Altitude was estimated with Rocksim at around 2700 feet. Video is HERE

Next up was my unflown scratch built Pile-O-Punkins rocket that I had hoped to fly at our club launch last October (Halloween), but alas we had no field to fly on. This is a 2 foot high stack of polyurethane hollow pumpkins ranging in diameter from 8” to 3”. It has clear Lexan fins and was a real challenge to construct. Since it could not accommodate any of my existing motor cases, I bought a short 38mm 2-grain CTI case from Wildman along with an H123 Skidmark motor. I estimated a 1200 foot flight with 8 Ozs of nose weight to stabilize this short, fat rocket.

By the time this was on the launch pad in the afternoon, thunder and lightening was evident approaching fast from the West with radio reports of 40 MPH gusts and heavy rain. The temperature was in the nineties with high humidity. This flight was the last before the field was torn down and the wind had already started. The flight was not as stable as I had hoped for and it arced over into the wind. In retrospect I should have taken it off the rail and packed up instead of launching. The 7 second delay proved too long and it crashed into the air conditioner on Wildman’s motor home with a huge thud just as the parachute was inflating. The bottom pumpkin broke open from the impact leaving a nice orange mark on Tim’s air conditioner. Tim was up on the roof in seconds inspecting the damage. Serves him right for parking in my landing zone! Next I scrambled to pack everything into the car as the storm was approaching. A few raindrops were already falling. I’ll repair the rocket and add 3 more ounces of nose weight. That should make it more stable. So Friday ended around 2:30 PM and I did not get my next rocket off until Saturday. We all decided to have an early supper at the Outback steakhouse before the crowd started. I think we were in the restaurant at 5:30 or so. Had a nice steak and discussed the day’s flight and upcoming flights.

Saturday was a nice clear day with no real wind forecasted. A perfect day! As I was leaving the hotel for the field, my cell phone rang. It was Howie at the field reporting that my canopy was embedded under the club’s and was pretty much destroyed by the storm and high winds that followed after I left the field the night before. Everyone who left their canopy up was in the same boat. When I arrived at the field at 10 AM, I could not believe the devastation. People were filling the dumpster with mangled metal and canvas. Two of the legs on my frame were kinked and many of the cross forms were bent or broken. I was really dumb not to have removed the canopy from the frame before leaving the night before. The only way to pack up the frame was to break it into smaller pieces by bending the parts back and forth until they broke from fatigue. I cleared the mess into a manageable heap, cutting the inside of my left forearm pretty bad. I asked Howie for the club’s first aid kit and he offered me a tourniquet for my neck! So much for friends. After I got patched up I drove off in search for a Walmart to buy an identical canopy. $109.00 and 2 hours later I was setup again. More precious launch time lost!

So I prepped my unflown 5 foot tall Giant Yellow Prang Crayon (Thank you Scott!) with an AT H170 Metalstorm motor which simmed to 1800 feet. Again I loaded the Garmin just in case as well as the video keychain camera. Picture perfect flight of this 6 lb rocket with a recovery close by on the field. I love how all these different sized crayon rockets fly. I now have 8 crayon rockets of different colors and sizes. (I hope they don’t come out with more colors!)

Later on Saturday I flew my Performance Rocketry Li'l Rascal on an H180 Skidmark to 2100’ again with camera attached. Another great flight with close by recovery. Aside from the morning’s mess it turned out to be a beautiful day with temperatures in the high 80’s and lower humidity with little wind.
Howie, Doug and Jeff left the field to eat at Friday’s but I stuck around until 11 PM partying Wildman style with Tim Lehr, Crazy Jim and all the other lunatics that gravitate towards Wildman Tim.
I was definitely a bad boy’s night and I am sworn to secrecy. All I will say is that rockets with bright LEDS look really nice in the night sky as do 6” commercial fireworks when lit in the middle of a 500 acre field.

Sunday was another picture perfect day with temps in the lower eighties, lower humidity and virtually ZERO wind all day.
I launched my Wildman Shapeshifter Jr. which I had spent building during the 3 days prior to NERRF. It is a dual deploy 54mm G12 rocket weighing in at about 6 lbs loaded. I flew it with a AT I161 White Lightening motor using my trusty Perfect Flite Minialt w/d altimeter and my Garmin GPS and camera. A beautiful flight ensued with recovery again right in the field.

Later in the afternoon I challenged Dave Ristow from Connecticut to a drag race with our 2 foot diameter Polecat Woket saucers. He gladly accepted. He used an AT J90 motor and I a J135, both with 9 second burn times. Most people placed their bets on mine because of the bigger motor and they were correct. Not only was mine first off the pad by at least 2 seconds ( The igniter I use for drag racing with Aerotech reloads is my secret), but my parachute did not deploy due to too small a BP charge so I was first back on the ground despite the higher, straighter flight. Yah ok, so I cracked a fin to body tube joint but the saucer is flyable again. The video is HERE.

Next I planned to fly my already prepped 4" X-Celerator on a 54mm 6 grain K675 Skidmark to 7000’ but most people were already packing or gone and our club members had left the field. I decided not to fly it. On the bright side, I saved $140.00 in propellant! So I guess I’ll do it in 2 ½ weeks at LDRS.
Hope to see you there!


Howie D.

This year was my sixth NERRF and the number of rocketeers was down significantly. I would guess that is was down to one third the number that was normally there. There were three causes, in my opinion: the nearness to LDRS, the cost ($50) and the extreme heat. The flying fields were sod although behind the away cell was dead grass, which caught fire several times (including one of my flights). The entire weekend was low key without any lines for everything except the lone away cell. Additionally, when either the right or left side was flown, it was usually less than half full. It was very similar to a large version of a CRMRC launch.

I saw many colleagues who had some great flights. If I had to pick one person as “best rocketeer” it would have been Fred T with his two and three stage high power flights. All were text book and onboard videos are available on Facebook. I would give the “worst rocketeer” to two different people. There was one dad trying to fly his daughter’s rocket which had the forward closure blow out on the pad the first three times he tried to fly it. Then there was the guy on the other side of Dave L who armed his Raven with live charges and then started turning it upside down -- this set off the charges. Most other rocketeers were somewhere in the middle.

Friday: Prepped and flew my Saranac Root Beer on an AT H165R drilled down to 5 but this was 2-3 seconds short. Rocket was recovered in the same field that it launched from. I prepped my ¼ Patriot DD but as I finished the skies were getting very dark. I opted to pack up everything and was glad I did as it started to storm just as I finished.

Saturday: Started the day flying my ¼ Patriot DD on a Kosden I550R to around 2700 feet and landed one field away from where launched. Next, I helped Doug launch his first flight of the day. I followed this by watching Jeff prep his L3, including making a few suggestions/corrections along the way. Jeff and I then carried his rocket out to the away cell and it was launched. The main came out shortly after apogee so it drifted a long way. Jeff and I spent a couple of hours trying to get close but there were ditches in the way. By the time we got back, it was almost 1600 so I put a CTI H110W into my Pyramid and flew it. It landed in the same bay as the launch rail.

Sunday: Started prepping my L3 Firebolt for a flight. I was ready and at the RSO table by 10:15 (about 90 minutes to prep everything and build the motor). There was a rocket on the away cell that needed high altitude clearance and was told to wait. It took three hours before that rocket and two other large high altitude flights were able fly. Finally, around 1330, I was on the pad and off the ground. The CTI L1410 Skidmark pushed it to 4380 (Rocksim said 4330) feet and deployment was spot on. It did set the grass on fire, but this was expected and someone was waiting on a quadrunner after takeoff to spray water. The rocket landed about two hundred yards from the pad. The pieces were spread across three different fields with streams separating each of them.
None of my rockets landed very far away from where they took off so I did more walking helping others than I did for my rockets. I did pick up a couple of K’s which were on sale along with some 1515 rail buttons for my very special Gizmo XL that I am working on.


July, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field. Four of our club members did attend LDRS XXXI


LDRS XXXI - July 12-16, 2012

No report available.


August, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field.


September, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field.


October, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field.


November, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field.


December, 2012

No club launch took place this month due to unavailability of our field.